I just so happen to be married, but a few years ago when I was single—and lonely—I began dating Jesus. My husband, great guy though he is, can’t possibly be all I need for unconditional love, security, intimacy and belonging. Without dating Jesus, I’d still be as lonely as a raft at sea.
In this lovingly told tale, Susan Campbell takes us into the world of Christian fundamentalism a world where details really, really matter. This is troublesome, because I am trying to do the right thing--and, incidentally, avoid hellfire. I know that in order to spend eternity in heaven with Jesus, I must be immersed completely in the water, be it in a baptismal font, like this overly large bathtub-type model at the front of my church, or in the swimming pool at Green Valley Bible Camp, where I go every summer, or in a river, or anywhere where the water will cover me completely.
And she shows us what happened when she finally came to admit that in her faith, women would never be allowed a seat near the throne.“Simultaneously wisecracking and scholarly, both heartfelt and hilarious . I have walked to the front of my fundamentalist Christian church this Sunday morning to profess my love for Jesus and be buried with him in the baptismal grave. I must be buried, figuratively speaking, because that is how Jesus did it with his cousin, John the Baptizer, in the river Jordan.1 It is how I want to do it now. In my mind, Jesus had been flirting back, and why wouldn’t he? I went to his house three times a week, sat in his living room, listened to his stories, loudly sang songs to him.
Like mine, her church had “no central hierarchy, opting instead for home rule by a group of older men, the elders.” Her Bible was the King James Version, and later the New International Version; and like my own KJV, it was “scored with pen and pencil underlines.” Both of us were “in church every time the doors were open.” Women could not speak in church services or teach boys, past the age of twelve; but we memorized “great swatches of the Bible” anyway.
Although our preachers paid no attention to the Bible’s literary or historical context, we were assured that ours was the only true New Testament church.
That means to me that while we’re here on earth, we are in a sacred courtship with the King of kings.
We’re in the relationship-building stage, getting to know him mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, but not getting to be united with him physically … There’s nothing weird about thinking of Jesus like your greatest romantic interest, even if you’re a guy.Growing up a smarty-pants, fundamentalist, hillbilly girl in the 1970s By the age of twelve, Susan Campbell had been flirting with Jesus for some time, and in her mind, Jesus had been flirting back. She went to his house three times a week, listened to his stories, loudly and lustily sang songs to him. [Campbell’s] writing is striking for the compassion with which she views her younger self, a fledgling believer confined in a cage of manmade rules.” —Jane Ciabattari, More“Rarely has a genuine feminist emerged from the modern evangelical movement. [and gives] readers a hook to grab on to as they ponder life’s big questions alongside a tomboy theologian.” —Harry Levins, St. Fundamentalism ‘broke off in us,’ like a sword, seems a poignant metaphor for the injuries suffered.She even professed her love for him through being baptized. ” —Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believed“This fond memoir of growing up a rebellious tomboy in a fundamentalist church that expects women to be pious, subservient and, above all, quiet tells what it feels like to have Jesus as your boyfriend-and what happens when you want to break up with him.” —Ms.“[A] heartfelt memoir . An exception is Susan Campbell.” —Hanna Rosin, Mother Jones“A mesmerizing, funny, impressionistic memoir of a spiritual and thoughtful person, one who has spent her life wrestling with religion, the meaning of faith and her feelings for the Divine.” —Houston Chronicle“Campbell has both a sense of humor and a knack for religious research . Louis Post-Dispatch“A moving account of closely cinched fundamentalist girlhood . Fortunately for the rest of us, [Campbell’s] chosen salve for those wounds is the writing of astute and vivid prose.” —Valerie Weaver-Zercher, The Christian Century Chapter One: The Devil Is in an Air Bubble The devil is in an air bubble floating beneath my baptismal robe.But if this dress doesn’t sink with the rest of me, the whole ceremony will be useless. The Bible said Don’t steal, but I copied from a friend one morning in social studies because I hadn’t taken the time to do my own homework.The Bible said not to lust, and while I am not clear what that means exactly, I harbor a deep and abiding crush on a series of pop culture icons from Bobby Sherman on--save for Donny Osmond, because he is too Mormon and I don’t think I could convert him.The men under whose influence he has grown seem to be theologically-sound, showing that he has a true committment to biblical doctrine.